Frequently Asked Questions

Discovery of the Valley of the Castles

What is the area overflown? The route?

The flights take place in the heart of the Valley of the Castles, regrouping the most beautiful sites of the Black Perigord. You will discover a particular light, a thousand architectural treasures and particularly fascinating landscapes.

We'll take off amidst the castles of Beynac, Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, Les Milandes, and the picturesque village of La Roque Gageac, and let ourselves drift along with the breeze. Your pilot has an idea of the trajectory, but he does not know in advance the route that his balloon will follow. Each flight is unique and this is what makes the magic of the moment. A balloon flight is an adventure!

In accordance with the regulations in force, the company has approved and declared take-off platforms, which are subject to a prefectural decreé. They are ideally located to give you a great view!
The choice of the take-off place is made at the time of the reception of the passengers, according to the last meteorological observations, in order to have the most beautiful and interesting trajectory in the Valley of the castles.

When and how do I retrieve the photos taken during my flight?

During your flight, the crew members assisting your pilot take pictures that you can download for free from our website. These photos are put online a few days after your flight. They are protected by a password which is given to you by a hostess before your flight, when you are welcomed at the meeting point.

To access your photos, follow this link: https: //www.perigord-dordogne-montgolfieres.com/photos-de-vols, choose the photo album corresponding to your flight, and enter your password.

Please note: the photos are free to download on the site for 1 month, then they are automatically deleted and we will no longer be able to access them!

Choosing the best time

What are the flight times?

For safetý and comfort reasons, the hot air balloons never fly during the day. The company thus offers flights in the morning and evening.
- For the morning flight, the meeting point will be at sunrise.
- For the evening flight, the meeting point will be about 2 hours before sunset.

The schedule changes every week. The exact time of the meeting will be given to you in a text message or in a flight confirmation e-mail, which you will receive 24 hours before the flight.

To get an estimate of the flight times according to the time of year you wish to fly, follow the link below: *****

Why only 2 flights per day?

Because it is only at sunrise and before sunset that the air currents are the most stable and allow safe flights. But it is also a chance: it is at these moments that the light is the most beautiful!

When do the flights take place?

The team is present all year round and provides flights whatever the season, depending on the weather conditions.

However, as a rule, our passenger flights take place from the beginning of March to the end of October, when the days are milder. Flights take place every day, as long as the weather permits.

From November until the end of February, we give priority to our future student pilots for training flights.

Which season is the most beautiful?

It is very difficult to answer this question objectively, as each season has its own assets: such as the softness and the blooming of spring, the warm golden light of summer, the flamboyant colours of autumn, the quietness and the frost of winter...

Prepare your visit

Do I have to book in advance?

During the summer, for a weekend or even for bank holidays, it is strongly recommended to book in advance. We invite you to contact us at least 2 to 3 weeks in advance.

How to book ?

We do not currently have an office open to the public.

Nevertheless, you have the possibility to book :

- Via our website: by filling in the form under the description of the flight you are interested in (subject to availability, we will contact you as soon as possible to discuss other flight dates with you).

- By phone(06 83 26 47 66) : a telephone permanence is assured all year long. Do not hesitate to leave us a voice message or a sms if necessary, we will call you back as soon as possible!

- By e-mail: contact@perigord-dordogne-montgolfieres.com

In order to finalise your booking, we will need to know the name, age and approximate weight of each passenger, as well as a mobile phone number where we can easily reach you in the days leading up to your flight, including by text message. We will also need to know if the passenger(s) have any health problems. This information is treated confidentially.

When you make your reservation, don't forget to tell us if you already have a flight ticket (gift ticket).

Do I have to pay a deposit?

Except for gift tickets, which are paid for at the time of ordering, payment for flight tickets is made directly on the day of the flight, except in the case of group reservations.

Indeed, for groups of 8 people or more, the payment is staggered́ in time with a 30% deposit paid at the time of booking. The balance is paid́ in full on the flight day. The final number of participants is decided at least 15 days before the date of the flight and serves as the basis for final billing.
In case of cancellation of the flight for weather reasons and without possible postponement, this deposit is of course returned to you as soon as possible.

A hostess welcomes you at the time of your appointment. She will check in and collect your flight tickets (by credit card, cash, cheque or ANCV holiday vouchers). She will give you a ticket. Gift tickets, although already paid for, must be presented to her.

Can I cancel/reschedule my reservation?

Ballooning is totally dependent on the weather. The company, on the decision of its pilot, reserves the right to cancel a flight until the moment of take-off, and this because of bad weather conditions, unfavourable wind directions, or technical incident which could put in question the safety of the passengers or that of its pilot.

When a flight is cancelled due to our decision, for weather or safety reasons, the passenger can rebook for another date.

When the cancellation comes from a passenger, ????

Where is the meeting point?

Passengers are welcomed near our main base in Castelnaud-la-Chapelle (24250), at the place called "Tournepique", located behind the post office and the bakery "Maison Carré".

GPS coordinates: Long. 44.81293, Lat. 1.15275

Vehicles can be parked for free in the large public car park at the bottom of the village.

Where to stay in the area?

Whether you are looking for exceptional accommodation, a hotel, a gîte, a guest room or a campsite, there are many possibilities available to you. Don't hesitate to ask us to find your accommodation, we will be delighted to advise you and direct you to the best addresses!

Will my family be able to accompany me to the flying field?

For safety reasons and because we take off from private land, accompanying persons are not allowed to enter the ballooning area. If the conditions allow it, they will be able to stand outside the field to observe the take-off.

Is there an age to fly?

For safety reasons and air regulations, children are accepted on board from 6 years old.

Children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult, with a minimum of one adult for every 5 children. It is the responsibility of the accompanying adults to inform us of the exact age of the children.

From 80 years old, a recent medical certificate certifying your ability to fly in a hot-air balloon is required (see next question).

Are there any medical contraindications?

The company is not qualified to judge the physical condition and fitness of passengers for flight. In case of doubt, we advise you to seek advice from the appropriate person (e.g. your doctor). You cannot fly if you have a serious medical problem or if you have just undergone surgery.
A medical certificate certifying your fitness to fly may be required.

People with disabilities must be accompanied.

The hot-air balloons are not equipped with doors, they cannot accommodate wheelchair users. The gondolas are not equipped with seats.

The following persons are not allowed to fly:
- pregnant women;
- children under 6 years old and less than 1.20m tall;
- passengers weighing more than 120kg;

Overweight passengers may be required to take a morning flight, as for safety reasons the composition of the crew depends on various strict and predefined factors, such as the total weight on board depending on the outside temperature.

Similarly, older passengers, including those with a medical certificate, will be advised to take a morning flight, where the landing is generally quieter than on an evening flight.

I come from far away... How can I predict the weather?

Trust us ......
We consult daily the weather information given by several specialized websites, while keeping our nose outside. Being a pilot means above all having experience in weather forecasting, observing phenomena, and knowing the local aerology.
However, it is difficult for us to establish the feasibility of the flight with certainty more than 48 hours before the flight.
A final confirmation will be sent to you by sms or e-mail 24 hours before the flight.

When booking, please plan your flight at the beginning of your stay if you are coming from far away and let us know if you have any other availability. It will then be easier for us to offer you another slot, as flight postponements are proposed according to the availability of each person.

The landing

Where is it done?

Good question! After 1 hour of flight, the pilot will choose the most appropriate landing field. You go on an adventure with him, nobody knows in advance what your destination will be, each flight is unique! Before take-off and during the flight, he will show you the position to adopt for a safe landing, whether the balloon lands smoothly or bounces on the ground, which can sometimes happen.

How do we get picked up after we land?

The crew members will follow you on the ground in our vehicles for the duration of the flight. Don't worry, we will bring you back to your destination at the end of this adventure!

Team skills

What are the pilot's skills?

He has a hot-air balloon pilot's licence, which is subject to regular checks on his skills according to the strict criteria of the French Civil Aviation Authority.

Throughout the year, our team consists of 2 to 5 highly passionate and qualified pilots. Some are instructors, while others regularly participate in championships.

Who are the team members and what is their role?

The crew members are indispensable right-hand men in charge of helping the pilot in the implementation of his balloon, the assistance and the transport of the passengers on the ground.

Périgord-Dordogne-Montgolfières is a whole team, combining professionalism and conviviality, to make your flight a unique moment!

How to become a pilot?

The hot-air balloon pilot's license is obtained with the acquisition of theoretical skills, practical skills, and in particular a quota of flight hours under the responsibility and the teaching of a duly authorized pilot instructor (FFAé).

For more information on our training courses, visit the following page: https: //www.perigord-dordogne-montgolfieres.com/formation

The weather

What are the weather conditions required to fly?

Calm and stable conditions are essential for a safe flight. At the slightest doubt, a pilot can make the decision to cancel the flight.

There must be little wind (both on the ground and at altitude), no rain or risk of thunderstorms (even within a 50km radius), moderate temperatures (no scorching temperatures), and sufficient visibility (no thick morning fog).

When will my flight be definitively confirmed?

It is unfortunately difficult to establish the feasibility of a flight with certainty more than 48 hours before the flight.
But a definitive confirmation will always be sent to you by sms or e-mail 24 hours before the flight.

In case of cancellation due to weather conditions, when can my flight be rescheduled?

Postponements of flights are systematically proposed according to the availability of each one.
This is why we advise you to plan your flight at the beginning of your stay and/or to inform us of any other availability when you make your reservation.

What should I wear?

In general, the temperature in flight is 2 to 4°C lower than on the ground. We therefore recommend that you plan your clothing accordingly.

Synthetic clothing, especially fleece, is not recommended.

Skirts or dresses are also not recommended, as you will have to step over the basket to get on board.

Closed and comfortable shoes are essential. Heels are not allowed.

Only small personal effects are accepted on board (cameras, handbags), excluding any luggage or bulky backpacks.

A hat or cap is highly recommended, as it can protect you from the heat of the burner.

Also bring a bottle of water and sunglasses.

Preparation of the balloon

Do you see the inflation?

Absolutely, you are present at all stages!
That's why for a 1 hour flight you will need to allow 2h30 to 3h00 of availability.
The service includes the trip in one of our vehicles from the meeting point to the launch site, the preparation and inflation of the balloon, a mandatory safety briefing, the balloon flight, the storage of the balloon, the traditional toast of the balloonists, and the return to the meeting point in one of our vehicles.

Take-off

Where do hot-air balloons take off from?

The take-off site is strategically chosen by the pilot according to the wind direction, in order to guarantee you the most beautiful and interesting flight possible.

So that you can enjoy the view, we have 5 approved take-off platforms ideally located in the heart of the valley of castles, near the most beautiful monuments.

Can we just watch a take-off?

For security reasons and because we take off from private land, people without a flight ticket are not allowed to enter the ballooning area. If the conditions allow it, they will be able to stand outside the field to observe the take-off.

Can we bring a camera and/or a video camera?

Only small personal effects are accepted on board (cameras, handbags), excluding any luggage or bulky backpacks.

How do I get on board?

The gondolas are not equipped with doors. However, they have steps that allow you to step over the edge (about 1.20m high) and slide inside. Our team members will be present at the boarding and will be happy to help you if necessary.

Thefts

How long does it last?

With the exception of the "daylight flight" which lasts 2 hours, our flights last 1 hour. However, you should plan on being available for a total of 2.5 to 3 hours, as you will be present at all stages, from your reception to your return to the meeting point.

Is it possible to be afraid of heights in a hot air balloon?

Well, no! In a hot air balloon, you don't have a direct link with the ground, it's not like when you are on a bridge or a ladder, and thanks to that you won't feel dizzy.

You may be a little apprehensive about the void, but this will dissipate very quickly (I promise!), as the wonderment quickly takes over.

Don't hesitate to tell your pilot about your apprehensions, he will be able to reassure you and make you feel confident.

How many passengers can the gondolas accommodate?

We have 5 blue hot air balloons decorated with birds. Of different sizes, they allow us to answer all your requests, whether you come for a flight in couple or in group. The smallest can accommodate 2 passengers, the largest up to 12 passengers. But in most cases, that is to say except for the presence of small passengers in short pants and featherweight, its pilot will embark only 8 to 10 passengers. We attach great importance to your comfort. The composition of the crew also takes into account several predefined parameters, depending on the weight of each person and the weather conditions.

How high does a hot air balloon fly?

Your hot air balloon will evolve sometimes at the level of the fields or the top of the trees, where you will be able to discover the fauna and the wild flora of our beautiful valley, sometimes in altitude, where you will be able to admire the richness of the panorama which is offered to you. Your pilot will adapt to the aerology and thanks to the ascent or descent of his balloon, he will look for the wind currents which will allow you to obtain the most beautiful trajectory. To do this, he will take you to a maximum altitude of 1500-2000m.